Easter is almost around the corner, soon it will be upon us, as usual, faster than expected. If you are feeling like baking something special this year, you might be on the right place (or blog).
This is a recipe for a traditional Easter cake eaten in Argentina during this season. I’m calling it a “cake” but it is more like a sweet, soft bread, made with enriched dough. It has an outer layer of creme pattisiere and glase cherries, which makes it quite the showstopper.
Traditionally, it had an un-peeled boiled egg as part of the decoration, but it was later replaced by a chocolate egg.
Rosca de Pascua is in Argentina what hot cross buns are in England and Ireland: a staple of the Easter table.
These days most people just buy it from the bakery, but if you are lucky enough, you might have a grandma that likes baking and then it will befall on her to make one for Easter Sunday.
If you’ll like something different this Easter you might want to give this recipe a try. The resulting cake is delicious with coffee or tea.
It takes a bit of time, but it will be worth your while.
The following ingredients make two 1/2 Kg Roscas or 1 big, 1 kilo Rosca.
600 grs of strong flour
7 grs of instant yeast
100 grs of butter at room temperature
150 grs sugar
1 tablespoon honey
130 ml lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
Zest from 1 orange
Vanilla essence, optional.
To decorate: crème patissiere, glasse cherries and chouquette sugar.
To make the creme patissiere:
2 egg yolks
20 g corn starch
250 ml milk
60 g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1.- In a bowl mix the tablespoon of honey, the yeast and the lukewarm milk and let it rest until the yeast froths.
2.- Meanwhile mix the flour and the salt in a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, the sugar, the orange blossom essence, the vanilla essence and the orange zest.
3.- Once the yeast has froth, add it to the centre of the well, and with one hand start to mix all the ingredients inside your well until they are fully integrated. Then, carefully, start adding flour from the sides of the well so that the mixture starts to thicken. At this point you can help yourself with a scraper. Keep adding flour until you have a dough.
4.- Once you have incorporated all the flour and your dough is workable you will add the butter. It should be at room temperature and therefore pliable. Just add half the butter to the dough and knead until you can’t see any trace of it on the dough, then add the rest of the butter and knead. You will notice that your dough gets very sticky but don’t add any more flour because that will result in a hard, dense and dry rosca (yes, all because of just a little more flour).
5.- After 10 minutes of working it you’ll have a soft, pliable dough, so just have faith and keep kneading. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
6.- After 15 minutes, dip one of your fingers in flour and use it to make a hole in the centre of the dough. Then use your hand to shape it until the hole is as big as the bottom of a glass.
6.- Place the shaped roscas in a baking tray and in the centre of each rosca place a buttered and floured glass jar or glass so that it will keep its shape during baking. Let them rise until double in size. Because of the sugar and butter in the dough it might take up to 2 hours.
In the meantime you can prepare the crème patissiere:
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until pale and slightly thickened.
- Whisk in the flours.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until stating to boil.
- Whisk the milk into the egg mix whisking vigorously, otherwise you’ll cook the eggs and get scrambled eggs!!
- Put the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time until thick and boiling.
- Take the pan off the heat – cover with cling-film to prevent a skin from forming.
If you are new to making crème pat, here is a video that might help you. The quantities are different, just ignore, we are making a lot less crème pat!
7.- After 2 hours paint with egg and place in a preheated oven at 190 C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from the oven and decorate with the crème patissiere, the cherries and the chouquette sugar. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. They come out of the oven looking like this:
8.- To give it the bakery finish you have to brush them with a syrup made out of equal parts of water and sugar, simply boil them together until the mixture thickens a bit, let it cool before you brush the roscas with it. That gives them the glossy finish the Rosca de Pascua traditionally has.
Happy Baking! Paula